This Thursday, several events across South Florida are showcasing the Thanksgiving spirit of spreading joy and giving back to the community.
North Miami Thanksgiving Day Parade
The city of North Miami held its 47th annual Thanksgiving Day parade Thursday, with former Miami Heat star and Basketball Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning serving as the grand marshal.
“This parade is to celebrate Thanksgiving, bring people together to celebrate giving and understanding our blessings and I’m thankful to acknowledge and be a part of this celebration,” the Heat legend said.
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From his earliest days with Miami, 'Zo' has always used his platform to give back so he has a perspective on the challenges of the moment.
“We had to deal with COVID and social unrest, you know just so many different changes in our lives," he said. "We’re still here, though, we’re here to uplift one another and celebrate one another."
Residents were ready to take part in the tradition.
“I’m trying to start a tradition with my son," said Ann Sanchez. "I’m a resident of North Miami, and we’ve been coming to this probably since I was 15 years old.”
“I'm here because I want to be with my family and my friends and some people like that,” said Cypress Lemon, who came to the event with his mom Darlene.
Events like these are tailor-made for police to interact with the people.
“It’s part of who we are, we’re here to engage with the community, partner with the community," said North Miami Police Chief Larry Juriga. "Every now and then we have to put a bad guy away, but our main focus is to serve the community and partner with them.”
South Florida Turkey Trots
Several cities held Turkey Trot running events, including the annual 5K and 10K events at Tropical Park with a holiday-themed festival at the finish line.
Miami Beach held its first annual Turkey Trot 5K on Thursday while the city of Tamarac also held its Turkey Trot. The Miami Beach event was held for a good cause, raising money for Make-a-Wish Southern Florida to grant life-changing wishes for children with serious illnesses.
"We're giving so many people an opportunity to do something great and give back on this day of Thanksgiving," said President and CEO Norman Wedderburn.
Over 500 runners took part in the race, raising over $70,000 on Thursday morning alone.
"It’s a great way to start Thanksgiving, you can eat more right?" said participant Mysdie Peters.
Camillus House provided Thanksgiving meals to over 500 of the charity's residential and day center clients Thursday while also giving out haircuts.
“This place has helped me a lot and it’s given me a second chance and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday so I’m happy I’m going to be spending another year with my family,” said client Ashley King.
Luis Martinez brought smiles through his music as a volunteer, but he has been in the shoes of those clients before and hoped everyone took a moment to be grateful.
"Hug your loved ones, love people, give back, it doesn’t hurt," Martinez said. "I don’t have much, I’m not rich but you know I give my services and this is one of the best Thanksgiving’s that I’ve ever had.”
About a mile away, entertainment mogul Sean Combs helped to hand out Thanksgiving meals to the homeless at The Caring Place.
“It just felt good to like hug everybody who is here. The beautiful souls. Kings and queens," Combs said. "I don't like to call them homeless. They are just my brothers and sisters.”
For more on what's open and closed on Thanksgiving day and Black Friday, click on this link.